Scaling a business is no easy feat – but during times of uncertainty, it can prove even more difficult. Smart technology solutions that support short and long term growth could provide the answer…
Scaling a business has never been more necessary – or difficult. The pandemic has resulted in businesses everywhere having to rethink how they operate. From the small stresses of mic-related Zoom blunders to the total overhaul of business models and strategies, it’s now essential for businesses to adopt flexibility, adaptability and resilience to simply stay afloat.
But what does it take for a business to do more than just survive during times of uncertainty? What does it take to thrive?
Scaling a business takes flexibility and consistency – most notably in its structures and processes.
No small feat for any business, let alone smaller ones, scaling and maintaining consistent growth in a company requires clearly defined yet flexible business processes that mitigate against any inconsistency in how they deliver their goods or services.
However, during times of uncertainty, and with such huge economic changes as those inflicted by Covid-19, creating and consequently managing those scalable business processes can easily fall to the bottom of the priority list, and focus turns to the retention of revenue.
Since it’s likely that sales strategies will be revised and executed, your business may avoid any negative financial impact in the short term – but the without the necessary operational processes in place to keep up with demand and competition, customer service will inevitably start to suffer, and then comes the drop in sales. The solution is simple but not always easy; increase revenue while simultaneously increasing operational efficiency. But how?
Technology offers admin-light, insight-heavy scalability…
This is where software and automation comes into its own for scaling a business. By developing software to automate and codify as many of your business processes as possible, you eradicate the threat of those volatile external factors outside of your control, and consequently ensure a consistent level of service for your customers. You can regain hundreds or even thousands of hours across the whole business – from finance to HR, logistics to marketing – freeing up departments to focus on more strategic (and interesting!) projects.
Knowing where to start with automation is the next challenge. With apps and tools for everything from analytics to accounting, it’s essential to know where to invest your time and whether an off-the-shelf solution will cater for your business’ unique needs.
While you might really want that all-singing, all-dancing new platform for your IT department, what you might actually need is a bespoke CRM that grows with your business and contributes to better reporting. Or perhaps Marketing is insisting on a better design tool, but you know that your business would benefit more from an upgrade to your current pen-and-paper approach to stock management. You can’t do everything at once, so identify the areas that could best support revenue generation and promote operational efficiency – which brings me on to my next point…
Look for long and short-term benefits…
When it comes to scaling a business, how do you identify the areas that will really make a difference to your growth? Though it’s likely to be different for every business, a good indicator of a worthwhile solution is one that supports both the short and long term objectives of your business, since these typically cover both financial and operational goals.
Let’s say you’re a courier business; a bespoke CRM, for example, could segment your customer database by location within milliseconds, allowing you to craft more efficient delivery routes (a quickly executed, efficiency-focused benefit); you could also use that CRM to generate revenue forecasts for the next 12 months based on your current pipeline (a longer term, financial advantage).
Of course, automation could look very different for your business, but personalisation is just another of its many benefits; you can quite literally code your individual business processes into your automated software – all while dealing with whatever else inevitably comes your way.
At Yozu, we encourage our clients to take their time to understand their unique challenges during what we call the Discovery Phase of a project, which includes extensive research and analysis into what the new product will eventually become. Doing so ensures that those scalability must-haves (revenue and efficiency) have been considered, all options have been thoroughly explored, and all possible benefits have been identified. It also offers a great opportunity for stakeholder buy-in, and collaborative work in which different opinions can be voiced before development work begins.
If you’re ready to scale your business in a consistent and futureproof way, we’d love to hear from you.